Photographer: Rick McFarland/Bloomberg

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Facebook-Linked Marketer Plunges After Policy Shift

Facebook Inc.’s reckoning with its data-privacy practices has the company thinking of easy ways to make the site feel safer for users. One early casualty: Acxiom Corp. shares.

Acxiom fell as much as 34 percent Thursday, its largest drop since 2001, after Facebook said it will no longer let advertisers use information from third-party data brokers like Acxiom in targeting of ads on its system. The marketing company said the change could cost it up to $25 million in profit in fiscal 2019.

The selloff has left Acxiom shares at attractive levels for investors, according to William Blair analyst Adam Klauber. He notes that the stock may see near-term pressure but says Acxiom doesn’t collect data from Facebook. The company hasn’t seen any effect so far on deal-related conversations and no one customer accounts for more than 10 percent of its revenue, Klauber said in a research note.

Adding to Acxiom’s woes, Ficus Investment Research came out with an unfavorable rating and price target of $20, implying another 15 percent downside for the shares. The firm’s founder, Kyle Funck, pointed to Acxiom’s reliance on new products and upselling to drive growth, saying these are difficult to maintain in a competitive environment.

— With assistance by Richard Richtmyer

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